Canadian man guilty in British bomb plot
* Story Highlights
* Momin Khawaja the first charged with terrorist offense in Canada since
* Khawaja convicted on five charges of financing and facilitating terrorism
* The 29-year-old could face life in prison when he's sentenced next month
* Man pleaded not guilty to all charges in plot to blow up buildings, gas
TORONTO, Ontario (AP) -- A judge on Wednesday found a Canadian man guilty of
participating in a thwarted plot to bomb British buildings and natural gas
lines in 2004.
Momin Khawaja was the first person to be charged with a terrorist offense in
Canada since the country enacted anti-terrorism laws in 2001, and the case was
considered to be the first major test of those laws.
Khawaja, who was born in Pakistan, was accused of collaborating with a group of
British Muslims of Pakistani descent in the plot. Five co-conspirators were
convicted in London, England, last year and jailed for life.
Justice Douglas Rutherford convicted Khawaja on five charges of financing and
Rutherford also found him guilty on two criminal charges related to a
remote-control device, but not guilty to the terrorism portions of those
charges because there was not enough proof Khawaja knew the device was to be
used in fertilizer-powered attacks.
"Momin Khawaja was aware of the group's purposes, and whether he considered
them terrorism or not, he assisted the group in many ways in the pursuit of its
terrorist objective," Rutherford wrote in his judgment.
"It matters not whether any terrorist activity was actually carried out."
Khawaja, 29, could face life in prison when he is sentenced next month. He had
pleaded not guilty to all the charges alleging his involvement in the plot to
attack London's Ministry of Sound nightclub, a shopping center and electrical
and gas facilities in Britain.
Prosecutors painted Khawaja as an extremist who was determined to wreak havoc
with his British co-conspirators.
Defense lawyer Lawrence Greenspon acknowledged that Khawaja, an Ottawa software
developer, created the remote-control device. But he insisted it was meant for
use against military targets in Afghanistan, not in London. The plotters never
let Khawaja in on their plans to mount attacks in Britain, he said.
Greenspon did not call Khawaja or anyone else to testify.
The prosecution's star witness, Mohammed Babar, a former al Qaeda operative
turned police informant, testified that Khawaja attended a training camp in
Pakistan in 2003. He also claimed Khawaja acted as a courier to deliver money
and supplies and discussed various potential operations.
Canada's anti-terror law was ushered in following the September 11, 2001,
attacks in the United States.
The law was used two years ago to charge 18 individuals in an unrelated alleged
conspiracy to bomb targets in Toronto. But most of those cases are still before
The first suspect to go to trial in that case was found guilty last month of
participating in military exercises and firearms training. The man -- who was
peripherally involved in the case -- was the first person to be found guilty of
a terrorist offense in Canada since the country enacted the anti-terrorism laws
The arrests of the 18 group members, known as the "Toronto 18," made headlines
around the world and heightened fears in Canada, where people believe they are
relatively immune from terrorist strikes.
Copyright 2008 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.This material may not
be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
All AboutCanada • Toronto • September 11 Attacks
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